Early Orthodontics Treatment in Bethesda & Laurel, MD

At Heller Orthodontics, we believe that a healthy smile begins from day one.  That’s why it’s important to not only instill within your child the responsibility of taking care of his or her teeth – it’s also important to give your child the proper orthodontic care and treatments if necessary. As your trusted Laurel and Bethesda, MD orthodontist, we encourage you to bring your child in to see us for a visit at the earliest convenient time.

When Should My Child First Visit An Orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child’s first visit to the orthodontist should be by the age of seven. The reason for this age is because that’s when the adult molars typically have erupted and the front teeth are beginning to emerge. This is the earliest chance we have to examine the alignment of the teeth – especially the teeth’s front-to-back and side-to-side relationships. This will also allow us the chance to make sure that the mouth is large enough to accommodate all of the teeth.

It’s important to recognize that an early screening doesn’t necessarily mean early treatment. Even if there’s an orthodontic concern, many times we’ll just simply monitor your child’s growth patterns and progress until we determine when the most opportune time to begin treatment is. This will allow us a better chance to achieve the best results for your child.

Conditions That Early Treatment Can Correct

Early treatment is most effective because the jaw hasn’t fully developed yet. Many problems are easier to treat during this period; when a child’s natural growth processes are taking place. By waiting too long, a more complicated treatment (or even surgery) may be needed to fix the problem. Some of the problems early treatment will fix include:

  • Crossbite – This condition is where the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth. To treat this condition, we can use a device called a palatal expander. This device will gradually and painlessly widen the upper jaw.
  • Severe crowding – This occurs when the jaws are too small to accommodate all of a patient’s teeth. In order to help the adult teeth erupt properly, we can either use a palatal expander or perform tooth extraction.
  • Severe underbite – Underbites are caused by the lower jaw growing much larger than the upper jaw. This can result in serious bite problems. Orthodontic appliances such as braces and headgear can be used to correct these problems.
  • Protruding teeth – Teeth that are sticking out or protruding (especially front teeth) are more easily prone to chipping and fractures. They can also cause image problems for a child. Braces are used to correct this problem as well.

Other Benefits of Early Treatment

In addition to fixing bite problems, early treatment can also curb bad habits.. Certain habits can be detrimental to the development and function of your child’s teeth, jaws, and mouth. Some of these habits that we can use orthodontic treatments to correct include:

  • Thumb sucking – This is a natural reflex in most babies and toddlers, though it typically goes away between the ages of two to four. If this habit persists much longer, the pushing of the thumb against the front teeth can cause the teeth to shift and the jaws to change shape. This is called open bite, which will impair speech.
  • Tongue thrusting – Tongue thrusting is a behavioral pattern where the tongue protrudes through the incisors. This can occur during speech, swallowing, or other activities. Like thumb sucking, this can also lead to open bite.
  • Mouth breathing – This is an abnormal breathing pattern where the mouth always remains open and passes air straight to the lungs. This may cause the upper and lower jaw to grow abnormally.

Contact Your Laurel and Bethesda Orthodontist Today!

If you have any questions about our early treatment methods, please feel free to contact us at Heller Orthodontics. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with us, we encourage you to fill out our appointment request form. Alternatively, you can reach us by giving us a call at one of our convenient locations. Our Laurel office phone number is (301) 490-2882, and our Bethesda office phone number is (301) 654-5433. We hope to see you soon!

 

Related Articles

Early Orthodontic Evaluation - Dear Doctor Magazine

Early Orthodontic Evaluation Early detection of orthodontic problems in young children may make it easier to correct those problems in the long run. Waiting until all of the permanent (adult) teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult or even impossible. An early childhood orthodontic evaluation can yield excellent results... Read Article

Thumb Sucking - Dear Doctor Magazine

How Thumb Sucking Affects The Bite Thumb sucking can actually block the front teeth from erupting fully and can also push the teeth forward — sometimes more on the side where the thumb rested. How far out of position the teeth end up will depend on the number of hours per day the thumb was in the child's mouth and how much pressure was applied. When the pressure exerted by the thumb in the mouth is particularly strong and occurs over a long period of time, the forces can potentially influence growth of the jaws... Read Article

Orthodontics - Dear Doctor Magazine

The Magic of Orthodontics Proper alignment of the teeth is basic to “Smile Design.” Their position dictates how they work together and affects the way you look and smile. Only orthodontic treatment can move teeth into the right position. Simply put, when things look right, they probably are right. Learn the basics of smile analysis and design and whether the magic of orthodontics will work for you... Read Article